Lancelot Holland on promotion to Lieutenant on 15th November 1907.

By 1941, he had risen to the rank of Vice-Admiral, Commanding the Battle Cruiser Squadron and Second-in-Command of the Home Fleet. On the evening of 22 May 1941, H.M.S.Hood commanded by Vice Admiral Holland together with the battle cruiser H.M.S.Prince of Wales left Scapa Flow and headed for Iceland, to intercept the German battleships Bismarck and Prinz Eugen, which were attempting to break out into the Atlantic through the Denmark Straits. Both groups of ships were steaming directly towards one another, although due to damage to the radar system on the Bismarck, the German commander Admiral Lutjens was unaware of the approaching enemy. Just after midnight on 24 May, contact with the Bismarck was temporarily lost and only regained again at 3 am, causing Holland to alter his course to meet the enemy. At around 6 am, visual contact was made with the German ships, and Holland again changed course to meet the opposing battleships almost head-on, opening fire on the lead German ship which he erroneously believed to be the Bismarck. The Prinz Eugen and Bismarck concentrated their fire on HMS Hood, which continued to steam towards them, In so doing, HMS Hood was hit first by an eight-inch shell from the Prinz Eugen which ignited ammunition stored on her deck, and then by a 15-inch shell from the Bismarck which hit her magazine amidships, causing a massive explosion and breaking the Hood in two. The Hood sank almost instantly, taking with her 1,415 men, among them Vice Admiral Holland, with only three survivors.

In his book "Syd Tyrrell's Eydon" Syd wrote "Lancelot spent a lifetime preparing for a battle that was over in ten minutes". Lancelot was married to Phyllis who came from Mayfair, London and they had one child named John who died when he was only 18 years old. Their home at that time was at Boldre in the New Forest and following his death they donated a porch in his memory which was added to the Church of St John the Baptist in Boldre.

In addition the church has a dedicated area known as the 'Hood Chapel' which contains a number of items of memorabilia related to H.M.S.Hood including paintings and models of both Hood and Bismarck, a Roll of Honour for those lost on Hood and a stained glass window containing the badge of the Hood. A public commemorative service for those who went down with the Hood is still held there annually. Photographer: Unknown professional

Image lent by : Mr Peter Harman

Connected Photos: DK111

Lieutenant Lancelot Holland, RN

SKU: DK112

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